We all eventually reach the age where the child becomes the parent. Your role reversal can feel like managing a rebelling teenager. It can make you feel helpless rather than helpful. And it can be especially stressful if your parent lives far away from you. We, as their children, have to accept they are dealing with anxiety and fears we have yet to experience. This struggle brings up anxieties and fears within ourselves that we are feeling for the first time.
Taking care of yourself is number one. This includes habits such as getting enough rest, eating well, and taking time for activities you love like gardening, playing a new instrument, meeting up with friends, yoga and walks through nature.
It’s important to have open and honest communication with your aging parent about their needs and concerns. Listen to what they have to say and try to understand their point of view. Although it can be incredible difficult, communicate honestly about your concerns for their heath, wellness and safety. Come from a place of love.
Be patient and be prepared to have multiple conversations about their needs and concerns. Remember that aging can be a difficult and emotional process, so be patient with your parent as they navigate these changes. Show them empathy, understanding, and support throughout the process.
Slips, trips and falls may start to become more frequent and safety becomes a top priority. Make sure their home is safe and secure, and consider assistive devices that can help them stay safe and independent.
Finally, if you can, seek support from family members, friends, or professional caregivers. Make sure to utilize therapy and mental health care for yourself during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. WE ALL need a little help sometimes!